The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society celebrated the retirement of long-serving catering manager Jenny O’Neil with a tea party honouring her 16 years of service to the Banstead-based care home.
The charity, which specialises in delivering care to retired seafarers and their dependants, including those living with dementia, caters to around 90 residents and tenants, all of whom have benefitted from O'Neil’s care in the kitchen.
She was responsible for the running of the kitchen, hiring and training staff and ensuring menus are kept updated with the best dishes and residents’ favourites. Her work was highlighted in the latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) report for the home, which detailed residents’ praise of the food and staff’s understanding of the importance of promoting pleasant meal times.
In a sector where hygiene, diet and nutrition are so important, O'Neil made sure all residents’ needs were catered for, hosting regular tasting sessions and providing seasonal menus with quality produce. She also made sure food and fluid intake for people at risk was regularly monitored with charts that helped to identify and resolve any gaps in care provision, immediately. After the most recent Environmental Health surprise inspection, the kitchen was declared the cleanest ever seen.
Highlights for Jenny during her time at the Royal Alfred included keeping the residents smiling by organising dances, pancake tossing and many Christmas dinners with all the trimmings.
She says: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with The Royal Alfred Seafarers Society and I will always have a place in my heart for all the residents and staff that have made my time here so special.
“I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life but the Royal Alfred will remain a big part of it as I continue to lend my support when needed in a voluntary role. I have worked with some wonderful people during my time here and am looking forward to keeping in touch with many of them.”
Brian Boxall-Hunt, CEO at The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, says: “We’re very sad to see Jenny go but we want to congratulate her on nearly 16 years of dedicated service to our care home. She has brightened the lives of so many of our residents and we wish her all the best in her well earned retirement.
“Having long serving staff like Jenny work at the home is crucial in building relationships with and supporting the needs of our residents, especially those living with dementia. We have a close-knit team here that provides important nutrition for everyone at the home and I am not alone in saying Jenny will be greatly missed.
"We’re lucky to have benefitted from Jenny’s commitment and the team we have in place, led by Matt Goodman, is more than capable of sustaining the outstanding level of care and quality food provided for all our residents.”